Campaigns look ahead to NC's November role after Iowa caucuses

Tom George Image
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Campaigns look ahead to NC's November role after Iowa caucuses
In the wake of former President Donald Trump's big win in the Iowa caucuses, President Joe Biden is making a trip to Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In the wake of the Iowa caucuses and former President Donald Trump's win, President Joe Biden is already eyeing a potential rematch.

The White House announced that Biden will make a stop in the Triangle on Thursday, visiting Abbott's Creek Community Center in north Raleigh to tout his economic agenda. Vice President Kamala Harris was in Charlotte last week, and with North Carolina playing a crucial role, the state will likely see more of these visits. But first, we need to get through the primary.

Fresh off his win in Iowa, former President Donald Trump already has his eyes on November, calling on Republicans to unite behind him.

After narrowly carrying North Carolina in 2020, ABC News political director Rick Klein says our state is a must-win for Republicans, and for Biden, a chance to flip a state that was just out of reach last time.

"No question, I know that the Biden campaign has talked about North Carolina as one of the few states that went red last time that they want to get back into the blue column, I have a feeling the Biden-Harris campaign is going to be spending a lot of time in North Carolina," Klein said.

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As for Trump, he made history, winning the Iowa caucuses with more than 50% of the vote, the largest margin of any Republican in the traditional first-in-the-nation contest.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second, and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley finished third. The contest now turns to New Hampshire, where unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in primaries and Haley is banking on crossover support. It's something that could also be a factor in North Carolina with unaffiliated voters now the largest group of voters in the state.

"Because there isn't a lot of action on the Democratic side with Joe Biden's almost certain nomination, we're going to see some of that," Klein said. "I think New Hampshire is the biggest test of that, but there are other states that I'm looking at including North Carolina where that could be a factor. But it's hard though to win a Republican primary with Democrats frankly and Nikki Haley has a lot softer support among hardcore conservatives and Republicans."

But if Haley can't make a splash in New Hampshire and other candidates can't catch Trump, the contest could be over by the time North Carolina votes in March. The Wake County GOP is paying close attention and says any of the candidates including Trump could keep North Carolina in the red column.

"I think any one of the candidates running for the Republican nomination right now can win North Carolina, but we're going to work as hard as we can to make sure the voters in North Carolina understand what that candidate stands for and what they offer for our future," Wake GOP chair Steve Bergstrom said.